Plum Alley Investments Funds Markable: AI Computer Vision Technology Making Any Image or Video Shoppable

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Plum Alley Syndicate invests $1.3 million in Markable as part of a funding round led by Silicon Valley based Plug and Play Ventures

The technology that Markable is developing is really exciting. We believe it has the potential to disrupt online shopping as we know it today.

"I am both grateful and inspired to be working with Plum Alley. Deborah and her team were incredibly responsive, knowledgeable and resourceful. This is a momentous occasion for Markable and a big step toward finally connecting content to commerce at scale. The revolution of deep learning AI started two years ago, and we are just seeing the first glimpse of its possibilities, especially in fashion. Riding on the tip of this wave, our multi-object recognition speed is in real time and our accuracy is 2-6 times higher than all other deep learning algorithms published. Plum Alley's incredible network of members gives us the support, guidance and capital we need to grow and thrive, and ultimately achieve our goal of making ‘see now, shop now’ a reality for all," said Joy Tang, CEO and Founder of Markable.

Markable is an early stage company founded by Joy Tang that has built proprietary technology allowing products in still and moving images to be identified through artificial intelligence and made available for purchase. Markable's technology provides brands an easy and effective way to find new customers and generate higher conversion rates while allowing publishers and hardware manufacturers to monetize any content being streamed on their platform.

Markable's technology, which is being piloted now with their first corporate clients, is able to identify products with high degrees of accuracy. By adding just 5 lines of code, Markable can identify 50 items per image in 3 seconds and 1 item in 0.2 seconds. Their technology can be used by millions of publishers and obviates the need for them to try to build this advanced technology on their own.

Joy Tang, the founder and CEO of Markable is an extraordinary woman founder in the world of technology. Tang, a graduate of MIT, won the math Olympics in China and previously spent 7 years writing algorithms for high frequency trading.

"We were drawn to Joy and the team she has built which includes 5 PhDs deep learning scientists and 2 Master deep learning engineers from around the world. Not only does Joy understand the market opportunity, but Markable is introducing its product to its first clients," said Deborah Jackson Founder and CEO of Plum Alley. Plum Alley formed a syndicate of $1.3 million to invest in this round and will be instrumental in helping Markable grow its client base.

The technology can be deployed on a non-intrusive way so viewers can opt in or opt out to see products. This is an important feature to maintain a positive user experience and it is also important for publishers who can now monetize their content without losing viewers. Products are shown in context and brought to life at a time when customers have a desire and intent to purchase the product. In 2017 alone, digital advertisers in the U.S. are expected to spend $83 billion on campaigns to consumers. The industry has historically low conversion to purchase rates because ads are considered to be intrusive and are not displayed in context. Markable changes all of this for brands and publishers.

Joy Tang and Markable’s engineers have embraced the challenge of building a technology that can accurately recognize “deformable” products, such as fashion items, which require a much more complex image recognition technology than non-deformable products such as cars or even faces. Fashion items are considered deformable since they can look very different depending on the position of the person wearing them but in all cases the technology needs to be able to recognize that it is the same object even though it looks very different in each case. Long thought of as the next frontier in digital commerce and a massive untapped opportunity, the ability to build this technology has only existed in the last few years as image recognition has improved through artificial intelligence.

"The technology that Markable is developing is really exciting. We believe it has the potential to disrupt online shopping as we know it today. The tools from Joy and her team bring real time image search to identify things like fashion accessories in live stream video. We have two young adult daughters who simply can't wait to get their hands on it!” said Bridgette Heller, member of Plum Alley and President of Danone Specialized Nutrition.

While the first application of Markable's technology is fashion, the company has its sights on other applications and other sectors like health care. Once they perfect their expertise in image recognition and artificial intelligence, their team will have the important technical ability to tackle other problems.

Markable’s $2.55 million round was funded by Plum Alley Investments, Plug and Play Ventures, Foxcroft Enterprises, Infinity Ventures and others. Alireza Masrour, Managing Partner of Plug and Play Ventures shared his excitement. "After seeing so many companies in this space, we believe Markable and the team are up to something unique. In addition to supporting the company from Silicon Valley, we are thrilled for Markable to leverage Plum Alley's network across the country."

“My husband and I have tried out several angel groups in the past year and Plum Alley is bringing us the most interesting deal flow and has facilitated the easiest due diligence process,” Jeri Finard, member of Plum Alley and Director, Seventh Generation, Serta Simmons.

Plum Alley Investments is a modern investing platform where women and men from different sectors engage in a new way around investing in purposeful and innovative private companies. Markable is the seventh syndicate investment in a private company in the last 18 months with their syndicates aggregating over $5 million. Plum Alley has over 200 members and invests across sectors but has a screen for women entrepreneurs in the founding team and companies with potential for strong financial and personal returns.

Please email Beatriz(at)plumalley(dot)co for further information.

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Beatriz Franco
Plum Alley
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